National Hermit Week
Annually, June 13-20
Our hermit motto: “Don’t be a loner alone.”
What is National Hermit Week? National Hermit Week was founded in 1996 as a focal point to initiate a hermit movement nationwide. Its founder, Dr. Eleece Jel observes “In some ways I launched the hermit holiday as a way to find alone time for over-exposed introverts like me. As it evolved, I became increasingly concerned with assisting others in developing their hermiting capabilities so that lives would be improved and many could hermit more effectively. I encourage people to question why they think a certain way, what influenced them growing up, to ask what is the meaning of life and what are they to do about it. To think in these ways, they need to get quiet, to spend some time alone, and a motivation to do so. Hence, National Hermit Week was born. And the hermitage movement lives on.”
Why is National Hermit Week eight days long? Engaging in solitary pursuits for seven days in today’s world is tough. The extra day is to recover from the shock of so much rest.
Where do people celebrate National Hermit Week? Technically, National Hermit Week is more about a state of mind than a destination. It can be celebrated anywhere you are. But it is a truth that some settings promote a state of hermitude better than others. In fact, the ability to engage in solitary pursuits in crowded or chaotic environments is a classic characteristic of the adaptive hermit. Though the travelling hermit is well known, some just like to stay put—the stationary hermit.
How is National Hermit Week celebrated? Reports from the field indicate that there are as many hermit expressions as there are hermits. There are artist and musician hermits, librarian and teaching hermits, comedic and platonic hermits, genealogy and historical hermits, spiritual and religious hermits as well as studious and odious hermits. Be they artists, scholars or odiferous, hermits are an inventive lot.
Can Dr. Jel be a bit more specific about Hermit Week celebrating? “Evasiveness is a hermit hallmark, but yes, if we must. New Mexico’s Roswell Public Library recognized our hermit holiday every June for many years–how appropriate. Actually, librarians were among the first to recognize the benefits of hermiting toward literacy development by coming up with clever ways to promote reading using the idea. Some seminarian, theological and yeshiva hermits report hermiting via the three spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and abstinence. Married hermits limit their discipline to just the first two. Counselor hermits have encouraged patient hermits by prescribing scheduled quiet time for reflection. Artists report hermiting as essential to creative inspiration and brainwave entrainment. Discover the benefits of hermiting yourself. Journey within or go off-the-grid. Whether you seek inner peace, spiritual release, or a moment’s peace, this eight-day week is for you alone.”
How has National Hermit Week been promoted? Early on we tried telepathy, but so few tuned in, that channel was abandoned. Reception picked up when Dr. Jel was heard nationwide on NPR’s “To The Best of Our Knowledge” in an interview with Steve Paulson. Focusing on the humorous side of things, she managed to be interviewed on hundreds of radio stations including the ABC network which broadcasts to even more stations. She did bookstore promotions, was written up in a newspaper or two, and her unusual holiday, then and now, is featured in numerous event directories. It was even featured as an example of an excellent marketing idea in a book on that subject. There’s more, but hermit modesty restrains us.
Is hermit something you are or something you do? It is both. You are a hermit or you exist in a hermitudinal state of being. You can also act hermit-like. In fact, hermit is a noun, as in ‘I am a hermit, you are a hermit, and he, she, it is a hermit’ and so on. It is a verb as in ‘He hermits, she was hermiting, and they hermited’ all week. It can be an adjective as in ‘She was a hermitie sort of person’. Hermit conception is largely a matter of personal predilection.
Can an extrovert be a hermit? “I suppose, but would a true one want to be?” quips Dr. Jel. “Actually, the true understanding of being a hermit or hermiting has to do with how and from where we get our energy, inspiration and power. Are they primarily derived from taking time to still our minds and seek quiet and/or alone time? Or are they absorbed and/or received from being around or with others? Personally, many of my professional and life circumstances over the years have forced me to hermit in public when I would rather not. But a hermit hermits as hermitie needs must.”
Why haven’t we heard from the founder of National Hermit Week for the past several years? “I’d like to say I was living the hermit dream,” says our leader Dr. Jel. “Actually, I went from being a free-as-you-please hermit to being forced off-the-grid for some years as a spiritually converted and care-giving hermit. Still a caring hermit, situational necessities require a re-surfacing of my public hermit style so I won’t devolve my hermit movement responsibilities.”
Where can we learn more about National Hermit Week and Modes of Hermiting? Cyberspace hermits should check our website which is slowly being developed by designing, but tardy we’d-rather-be-hiding hermits at www.nationalhermitweek.org. Or email Hermit Central at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an other-dimensional hermit, send thoughts.
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© 1996 – 2014 Eleece Jel, Ph.D.